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I have several interesting rumors that I feel relatively confident about but either don't have visual evidence or a second confirmation, so I'm going to keep them to G+.

I'll post roughly a rumor a day until I run out.

Disclaimer: As with all rumors, nothing is 100% until it's officially announced. None of this may end up being true, though I have a good level of confidence in the sources.

Rumor #3. This is something a lot of people have been waiting for. The version of Hangouts that's being tested with KitKat takes over the Messaging app and handles SMS. In fact, the Messaging app is gone and is fully replaced by Hangouts, at least on the Nexus device that was being tested. It should be able to handle MMS as well.

Additionally, Hangouts will now let you send videos instead of just images.

I will try to dig in further, but that's all the information I have on the upcoming Hangouts update. I don't know if it'll be ready in time for KitKat and if it's connected to the KitKat release at all, so I really can't say when it will launch. But I'm hoping if they're testing it now, we'll see it this year.

Previous rumors:
Rumor #1:
Rumor #2:
Drew Royal's profile photoBradley Kenny's profile photoArtem Russakovskii's profile photoTeddy Grant's profile photo
I really hope this is true because if it is that's a dream come true!
Unfortunately Samsung's phones will probably not have this combined hangouts, since they want to push their own crappy messenger.
This would be so incredible. Then it would actually be leagues ahead of imessage due to browser access and typing status. 
I think probably what they'll do is have Hangouts be the default texting app on Nexus and Google Play devices and just remove the messaging app for texting but still allow is to exist for OEMs who want their own separate texting apps in addition to hangouts. I mean Google Talk has always been bundled on Android Devices so that solution would make the most sense to me. I just hope that Google Voice integration is some where in the mix.
+Artem Russakovskii I can't tell whether you're giving us genuine information, or just telling us all exactly what want to hear! I hope it's the former, but if not then excellent trolling :-) 
Does this mean the Nexus 7s with sim slots will be able to send smss on KitKat
+Hugo Mathee Probably not because I'm pretty sure texts don't go over LTE. But you can use Google Voice to text using Data.
Screw the messaging app. What about Google Voice?
+Drew Hill I'm interested in this as well but I'd be really surprised if they didn't add Google Voice texting support too it just makes no sense to me that they wouldn't.
+Tyler Malovetz Im currently able to send texts via third party apps, like Invi and GoSMS, but theres no stock app(7 3G 2012)
+Hugo Mathee But that's because it's 3G not LTE. I would be interested to know if the same thing works on LTE on T-Mobile/ATT I know it won't on Verizon since Verizon uses CDMA for texting not GSM.
+Thomas Zolynski +Matthew Garbett yes to use the Play Store the device must allow Play Services to work.

Hangouts is downloadable so Samsung would have to fork Android/do something drastic and use their own store. I doubt they'll do that, considering their recent financials.
What is more realistic to me is the rich status updates that android police has found in the current apk
+Paul Atwal Samsung does have their own OS in the works for whatever dumb reason however. But yeah hopefully they don't do that it would be stupid.
+Paul Atwal Exactly: it is downloadable. That's the big problem here, since it has to compete with something preinstalled on over 50% of the world's Android devices. That's a difficult task.

Google could, of course, push Hangouts via Play Store services, but this would anger Samsung and all the carrier.
+Thomas Zolynski Hangouts is an update of Google Talk which is included with all Android devices that have the GApps on them. I'm sure there is a way they could force update everyone to Hangouts.
They'll have to keep a vestigal AOSP messaging app just like they kept a vestigial AOSP browser after the switchover to chrome on Nexus devices. Unless they take Hangouts open source, which would be cool but unlikely. And they have a hard problem to solve conceptually if they choose to thread conversations between SMS and Hangouts messages from the same person. I don't think this is all that desirable, versus a redesign of the AOSP messaging app, but Google has been backing away from adding functionality to the stock apps for a while now.
+Matthew Garbett I know what Hangouts is and that is currently preinstalled on many devices. This does not mean that Samsung will bundle it with its next devices.
+Thomas Zolynski I'm pretty sure Samsung is required to bundle Hangouts with the other Google Apps but I could be wrong but I have yet to see a phone without Google Talk (or Hangouts) pre-installed on it.
+Thomas Zolynski Huh? Hangouts is already preinstalled on every Android device. Google pushed it as an update to Google Talk, which was already preinstalled on every Android device.

Google doesn't need to do anything other than somehow get people to open the app.

And yes, to have access to the Play Store, Samsung et al also require Hangouts to be installed too (just like Gmail, Calendar, Keep, etc.). It is part of the Gapps package.
+Abhishek Saharawat Yeah, I've seen a few stories pop up, most of them calling me the co-founder of +Android Police. I'm not sure they understand the meaning of that word, because I'd love to meet this partner of mine.
+Danny Holyoake Samsung devices usually don't have the Google calendar. And since Samsung also has their own SMS app, they won't hesitate to replace a new SMS/Hangout app with their SMS/WhateverTheirMessengerIsCalled app. 
+Thomas Zolynski Google Calendar doesn't come preinstalled, but you can still download it. Just like you can download FB messenger and replace your messaging app with that. If you get a Samsung device you aren't locked down to using their specific apps. You still have a choice just like any other android device.
I really hope they link Google Voice numbers into this. I don't want to be MMS'ing / SMS'ing my contacts with my never-remembered phone number when Google Voice handles all of my outgoing messaging.
If this is true then this is going to be amazing. Hangouts is already the best MMS service out there. To integrate SMS? It will be unstoppable. 
I hope it is using Google Voice and that this means Google Voice will finally support MMS.  I'm tired of having to remind people send MMS messages to a different number since all of my text messages show my Google Voice number due to Sprint integration.
I cannot wait for this! Since the inception of Hangouts, this is what I've wanted. An iMessage competitor that works in multiple mobile platforms. 
Oh thank god. It's about time.
This is a must. I am really anticipating this feature on the next update.
And the next thing I want is an API so that we can use Hangouts for facebook/viber/whatsapp/bbm (lol, 3 people) as well
I would like the ability to paste in an image when using it from the browser instead of just pasting URLs.
Can't believe they haven't done this before. 
I can't hit the +1 button enough times.
what's most exciting about this is BYE BYE FACEBOOK MESSAGING
+Thomas Zolynski The point is they won't have a choice if it's a Google App. Either they include it or they lose access to the Play Store.
This is something I WILL hold my breath for and keep my fingers crossed. I'll avoid waking under ladders, breaking mirrors and black cats. I'll sleep in a giant horseshoe and pickup every heads up penny I see.
I want this.
+Chris Flatla That's probably why it works if they were CDMA with LTE it probably wouldn't work but this is just my theory I don't have an LTE Nexus 7 so I can't prove it either way.
Yes but they could easily make it a requirement.
What if someone doesn't use Hangouts at all, like me?
+Raymond Louis so ? It replaces your SMS app you can still send text messages to those who don't have hangouts
Hey +Artem Russakovskii have you heard any rumblings about where Andy Rubin is? That, and the general reason why many Android peeps are moving on from the project? Do they consider it boring now? 
This is great because I have left only 5 months of free usage in Whatsapp.
But what about Google Voice?? That's what I really hope they incorporate as well. Fingers crossed.
I hope this means Android will get the hangouts emojis system wide.
So will this work like iMessage or more like facebook/sms integration? 
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